Every extra visitor to your website has the potential to contribute to the local tourism economy.

But is your marketing strategy leaving no stone unturned to reach and connect with potential visitors?

There’s no doubt consumer behaviour has changed, with third-party booking engines often now the preferred choice for choosing accommodation and flights, but destination websites remain popular as a research and planning tool. For DMOs, they can help to showcase a region, entice would-be holidaymakers and direct leads to ‘tourism products’ (i.e. local businesses).

Getting more people to visit your site is therefore paramount. Here, we look at the role of digital advertising and SEO within a DMOs digital armoury.

Gavin Burgham, head of digital advertising

“Digital advertising is a highly effective medium in being able to immediately target key audiences and effectively showcase your product. The tactics that you are able to employ now also expand past traditional search engine efforts, allowing for reach to be maximised and a more long-term approach to be taken in targeting individuals.

Pay-per-click (PPC) still remains the most common form of paid advertising, while it is still the most effective. You’ll need to ensure that you’re using the correct keywords, considering the most common user search queries. With destination marketing in mind, keywords don’t strictly have to be limited to geographical locations; consider popular amenities and attractions – points of interest users may be searching for.

You then have display advertising and remarketing, which are proving highly effective in re-engaging users after they’ve visited your website or shown interest in your product. The highly-visual nature of display campaigns mean they go-in-hand with destination marketing; a great tactic for brand building and increasing exposure, users will be presented with banner ads (which can appear in a variety of formats) which use great imagery of your destination.

You can choose exactly where you want display ads to appear, who they’re presented to and how long they run for. Having this full control means that you’re able to target key audiences over a set amount of time, ensuring that your destination remains front-and centre to any holiday planning.

Video advertising can also be a fantastic medium for really capturing the atmosphere of a destination, while also being far more immersive than imagery. Managed through platforms such as YouTube or Facebook, it’s far more cost-effective compared to TV advertising while you’re also afforded much tighter control of who your campaign is presented to.”

Danielle Powell, head of search engine optimisation (SEO)

“While digital advertising allows you to promote your destination straight away, organic search is key to cementing a long-term search engine presence. In such a competitive marketplace, this approach should be central to any destination marketing strategy.

With the emergence of so many third-party booking engines, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for destination marketing organisations to maintain prominent rankings. But by positioning yourself as the local authority on a location, and a source of the most accurate information available, there’s real opportunity to attract quality traffic, challenging the likes of TripAdvisor.

Users generally have a rough idea as to where they want to travel during the research phase, so it’s paramount that your website considers and ranks for destination-specific keywords. And while more general location-specific keywords are great for capturing users in the research and planning phase, ensuring that you showcase all the other great things about your region can be key to further enticing individuals with a genuine interest in your destination into visiting.

Consider key points-of-interest, amenities, attractions and major events, etc.; ensuring that rich content like this is on offer will help your site become a trusted source of information, key for attracting more traffic and cementing prominent positionings. Having valuable content available will also enhance your offsite profile, whereby more sources will want to link to your site - again, key for improving and maintaining your rankings.

Regularly producing fresh content, by expanding existing areas of the site and through a dedicated blog, will also go a long way in improving your long-term positionings. Be careful, however, not just to produce content for the sake of it. New content should suit your long-term strategy, while adopting ‘storytelling’ techniques will further engage and resonate with users.”

Visit Guernsey An enticing approach to tourism
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Mobile apps and tourism - creating the ultimate destination experience Following on from our first piece in the series, we examine the pivotal role mobile apps can play in affording users the ultimate destination experience.